Bharwan Karela | Stuffed Bitter Gourd

This is truly and purely my Mom’s recipe, not even a little bit of change. Bitter Gourd is generally not enjoyed by all, but trust me this one recipe you should try at least once as post that you’re going to have it often. 

Also try: Bharwan Bhindi.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: North Indian

Time: Preparation – 10 mins, Soaking – 2 hours, Cooking – 30 mins, Total – 2.40 hours

Servings: 3-4


  1. Karela (Bitter Gourd) – 4 medium
  2. Onions – 4 medium (grated)
  3. Raw Mango – 1 small (grated)
  4. Green Chilli – 2 (finely chopped)
  5. Fennel Seed Powder – 2 tsp
  6. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Sugar – 1 tsp (optional)
  11. Mustard Oil – 4-5 tbsp (you can use any other oil as well)
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Thread – to tie the bitter gourds.

How to make Bharwan Karela:

  1. Wash the bitter gourd. Cut the tail from both the ends. Peel it a little thick with the help of a knife (not peeler). Keep the peel aside
  2. Slit the bitter gourds from the center and remove the seeds. It should remain intact
  3. Now add 2 tbsp of salt on the bitter gourd and it’s peel. Mix. Keep it soaked in salt for at least 2 hours. It helps in removing the bitter taste from it
  4. Now wash the bitter gourd and it’s peel thoroughly so that no salt is left. Separate the peel from it. Keep it aside
  5. Heat 2-3 tbsp mustard oil in a kadai or a pan. Let it smoke for a minute. Then turn the flame to medium and add a pinch of salt, it helps in removing the mustard oil aroma
  6. Add the bitter gourd peel. Saute for 2 mins on medium flame
  7. Add grated onions and green chillies. Saute and cook for 2-3 mins
  8. Add spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Cook till onions are golden brown
  9. Add fennel seed powder, garam masala powder, raw mango, sugar and salt. Cook for 4-5 mins
  10. Your stuffing is ready. Keep aside and let it cool down
  11. Now take the bitter gourds and stuff them with the stuffing. Take the thread and roll it around the bitter gourd a few times and tie a single knot in the end. Keep aside the remaining stuffing (incase left)
  12. Heat 1-2 tbsp mustard oil in a kadai or a pan in the similar way as above
  13. Add stuffed bitter gourds and turn from all the sides so that they’re oiled
  14. Cover and cook on low flame till bitter gourd is soft and cooked. Keep turning them in between so that they’re crispy from all the sides
  15. Now add the remaining stuffing to the pan. Mix and cook for 2-3 mins
  16. Your Bharwan Karela or Stuffed Bitter Gourd is ready. Remove the thread before serving
  17. Serve hot with Phulkas, Parathas or Daal Chawaal.

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